You don’t have to carve out special exercise time and get sweaty to stay healthy.
You just need to move a little more. And you don’t have to do it all at once.
A new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association finds that even small amounts of activity during the day can improve your health.
You should still aim for a total of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, but even a quick walk down the hall can count toward this goal.
Desk Workers, Couch Potatoes, and Other Sedentary Folks Can Rejoice
This is fantastic news for non-athletes and other less-active people. All you have to do is figure out how to work 150 minutes of short bursts of activity into your next week.
Here’s some quick math.
150 divided by 7 is about 22, the number of minutes of activity a day to shoot for.
Measured in brisk walks, that could be:
- 2 brisk 11-minute walks
- 4 6-minute walks
- 7 3-minute walks
- 11 2-minute walks
Sounds pretty manageable to me 🙂
About the Study
The researchers looked at whether you need to do physical activity all at once or in short bouts to reduce your risk of early death.
They evaluated findings from an earlier study that had collected data from a large (about 4,500 people) representative sample of US adults. Those researchers had used accelerometers to measure physical activity and to classify whether it was done sporadically (for less than five minutes) or in longer bouts.
They found that “mortality risk reductions associated with [moderate‐to‐vigorous physical activity] MVPA are independent of how activity is accumulated.”
Advice for Your Doctor
The study offers this advice to health care practitioners:
- “The key message based on the results presented is that total physical activity (i.e., of any bout duration) provides important health benefits.
- “Practitioners can promote either long single or multiple shorter bouts of activity in advising adults how to progress toward 150 min/wk of moderate‐to‐vigorous physical activity.
- “This flexibility may be particularly valuable for individuals who are among the least active and likely at greater risk for developing chronic conditions.”
Moderate‐to‐Vigorous Physical Activity and All‐Cause Mortality: Do Bouts Matter?, Pedro F. Saint‐Maurice, Richard P. Troiano, Charles E. Matthews, William E. Kraus; Journal of the American Heart Association, March 22, 2018